Essex Inn Shows Off New Tower to South Loop Community

Essex Tower

Rendering of 800 South Michigan tower courtesy Hartshorne Plunkard.

High rises were on everyone’s minds at a community meeting in the South Loop hosted by the Near South Planning Board Monday night at the Hilton Chicago, 720 South Michigan Avenue. You may even want to refer to the Hilton as the “gracious host,” because one item on the agenda pertained to the ambitious plans of the hotel’s next-door neighbor.

The Essex Inn, at 800 South Michigan Avenue, wants a room upgrade. Not only for itself, but for the space to its south.

First, Essex wants to address the inn itself, “re-establishing” 22 rooms to bring its total number of keys to 279, and adding a green roof atop it all. It is also hoped The Essex Inn will be landmarked by the City of Chicago.

But the real story here is the tower proposed for next door to the south. A joint effort of Oxford Capitol Group and Quadrum Global, who also colaborated on the Godfrey Hotel Chicago, the developers want to construct a 585-foot, 55-story apartment building. The Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture design would be comprised of 476 rental units and 180+ parking spaces. In response to public comment, the parking will be pushed back 20 feet form the Michigan Avenue facing, so as to be less noticeable along the street wall.

Essex Tower

This rendering from Hartshorne Plunkard shows the winter garden on the 7th floor.

One particularly glorious feature of the project is the winter garden beginning on the seventh floor. Hartshorne’s Jim Plunkard compared it to the work his firm did on Cindy’s, at the top of the re-fabulous Chicago Athletic Association at The 60-foot-high space would be opened up in the warmer months, and would be available to public visitors.Most of  South Michigan Avenue. The apartments, almost all one- and two-bed units with a few studios and three-beds mixed in, would occupy floors 14-55.

Power Construction has been selected as the general contractor should the project move forward, with the hopes of breaking ground this summer.


Location: 800 South Michigan Avenue, South Loop

Author: Daniel Schell

Daniel Schell is a West Loop social media addict who lives for Cubs baseball, good pizza, and big cities. If you bump into him on the street, it's likely because he's taking photos instead of watching where he's going, and he apologizes.

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